Remembering East Devon teacher, rower, musician and actor Rodney Dingle

PUBLISHED: 11:03 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 09 October 2017

Rodney Dingle (front row, third from left) with the Cambridge crew, carrying their boat out before the 1952 Boat Race.

Rodney Dingle (front row, third from left) with the Cambridge crew, carrying their boat out before the 1952 Boat Race.


Lympstone church recently resounded to many voices raised in song at the thanksgiving service for Rodney Dingle, who died in August, aged 87. Here the Journal looks back at the life of the award winning oarsman, Exmouth Community College teacher, musician, conductor and keen amateur actor...

Rodney's Seal 22 on the Exe, circa 1983. Rodney's Seal 22 on the Exe, circa 1983.

Rodney Dingle lived in Devon for 47 years – in Topsham, Lympstone and Exmouth. Well known in the musical life of the area, he was a teacher at Exmouth Community College from 1971-89.

For 11 happy years he conducted the Clyst Valley Choral Society. An inspirational choirmaster, his concerts included Bach’s St John Passion, the Brahms Requiem, Bach Cantatas, sing-along Messiahs, and choral works by Vivaldi, Haydn, Handel and Mozart. Rodney also sang with the Exeter Singers, the Bach Choir, Exeter Festival Chorus and the Linstead Singers.

Born in London in 1929, Rodney was educated at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham. A gifted linguist, after St John’s, Cambridge, he began teaching in 1953 at Bryanston School, Dorset, where he was a housemaster, choirmaster and outstanding rowing coach.

He moved to Topsham in 1970. He married June, and taught languages at Exmouth Community College. He became a committed advocate for the state comprehensive system, and expressed his views in the Journal’s letters column. As a teacher and sixth-form tutor, he was always positive and encouraging, and enjoyed remaining in touch with ex-pupils.

Rodney in the 1990s. Rodney in the 1990s.

He loved the Exe estuary and was a keen sailor. This love of water went back to his Cambridge days, when he was a member the Lady Margaret Boat Club crew that won the grand at Henley Royal Regatta, and in the Cambridge boat that won gold in the European Championships at Macon in 1951. He rowed for Cambridge in 1952, when they lost by a canvas the most exciting Boat Race ever.

All his life he maintained his love of language and was a keen amateur actor. A founding member of the Estuary Players, he also performed with the Lympstone Players.

Eager to help others, he was a volunteer in numerous local charities. Rodney was an enthusiast who enjoyed sharing his knowledge and interests. A warm and witty companion with a fund of amusing anecdotes, he will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

More from Exmouth Journal

Yesterday, 17:00

A judge has questioned why it has taken more than two years to prosecute a charity volunteer who was found with child abuse images on his computer.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A traffic order banning campervans and motorhomes from parking overnight on part of Exmouth seafront has been approved.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:52

The opening of the bowls green at Cricket Field Lane, the home of the Budleigh Salterton bowlers, is always an exciting day and as the blue skies appeared on Saturday afternoon so did the club members as over 30 bowlers enjoyed their first outing of the season, writes David Roberts.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:27

Exmouth’s recycling centre has been evacuated after a chemical was dumped on the site this afternoon.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

An Exmouth Slimming World consultant who completed the London Marathon said it was a case of ‘mind over legs’.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:57

Well, as usual, the bowls season had a wet start and the annual Phear Park opening was delayed for a few days, writes David Evans.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:57

Brixington Blues Under-13s were 6-2 winners when they came up against Sidmouth Warriors in an Exeter and District Youth League meeting.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:52

Exmouth continue to have the shadow of possible relegation from South West Premier hovering over them as they head into the final match of the season this coming Saturday (April 28), the home game against Camborne.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:49

Friday night’s National Trophy speedway meeting between Plymouth Devils and Isle of Wight is set to be dedicated to the memory of both Ivan Mauger and Vaclav Verner.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:44

Police are saying that there is heavy traffic after a two-vehicle incident blocked the B3178 near East Budleigh this morning (Wednesday, April 25).

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Most read

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications